In today’s tough job market, you must do all that you can to stand out. Many times, job seekers make their first mistake by not properly completing the job application.
Keep the following 12 tips in mind to effectively complete your next job application.
1. Always be dressed and groomed appropriately when picking up or dropping off an application. This is when you make your first impression!
2. Create a sample, generic application with all dates of your employment, work history with job descriptions, phone numbers and at least three references. Use this as a tool when completing job applications so you have all the information at hand.
3. Use a black pen and print neatly on paper applications.
4. Read and follow all instructions carefully.
5. Complete all information. If there are questions that do not apply, write “n/a.” Do not write “see résumé,” even if you have provided one. Avoid leaving anything blank.
6. Write “will discuss at interview” if you have something you prefer to explain in person, such as having been fired or if you have a felony conviction.
7. Do not give specific salary requirements. Write “open” or “negotiable.”
8. Always be truthful and do not over exaggerate on job titles or job responsibilities.
9. Make sure that you have permission from the people that you list as references. References should be people who know your work habits, such as former employers, supervisors or members of organizations in which you have volunteered.
10. Be sure to sign and date the application.
11. If you haven’t heard anything within a week after submitting the application, follow up with the company. Let them know that you are interested in the position. Also find out how long they keep job applications on file.
12. Keep in mind, the goal of your application is the door to your interview!
Paying attention to these small details can make a big difference when applying for jobs and increase your chances of being invited in for an interview. Be sure to check out the rest of our career advice articles for advice you can use to stand out in the crowd.